Pursued By Grace Series Sermon #8
LOOKING FOR A LITTLE REST
Ruth 3:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)
Ruth’s Redemption Assured
1 Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?
2 Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.
Ruth 3:1-2 New International Version (NIV)
Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor
1 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for.
2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor.
When you hear the word “rest” what images come to mind?
For me, the word conjures up images of me in my recliner, or of me stealing a few precious minutes on my “meditation sofa” in my private study. For others, “rest” is a walk in the woods, or a few hours with a fishing rod in their hands. Still others “rest” by working in the garden and yard. For many, however, rest is an elusive thing. They do not know where to find it. Such is the case for the heroine in our text.
Ruth is a hard working widow from the country of Moab. She has been engaged in bone weary activity all through the long harvest season. She needs rest! She has been carrying the load of providing for herself and her mother in law, Naomi. She needs a rest! She has been living with the memories of a time when life was kinder, when there was a husband to love, when there was the hope of children to raise, when she taken care of and when she had the security all women long for. She needs a rest! In this text, she begins the process of obtaining that rest.
Surely, by this time, Ruth has resigned herself to the idea that she will live out her life with Naomi. She must think that she will be required to shoulder the burden of caring for herself and her mother in law for many years to come. Little does she know that she is about to enter into a place of rest. She is about to have her burdens lifted and she is about to enter a relationship that will change everything in her life.
In this passage, we are confronted with the idea of “rest”. For Ruth, this rest was that of security and family. For us, it pictures something far more wonderful and precious. The rest is a portrait of that which the lost sinner finds when he enters a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. From this text, I want us to see the benefits that result from our entering into a “rest relationship” with Him, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, I would like to preach for a while on the subject, “Looking For A Little Rest.” If you are tired and weary in and of the life you are living, then there will be help offered to you this morning. Let’s observe the truth contained in this text.
I. THE PROPOSAL FOR REST
A. The Nature Of This Rest – When Naomi speaks of “rest”, she is speaking of a marriage. As a Gentile widow in that Jewish society, Ruth had few prospects. She is in desperate need of someone who will take her as his wife and provide her with the rest she needs. She is talking about a state in which Ruth can enjoy the security and peace that would accompany such a relationship. The word used here is very expressive. It has the following uses in the Bible:
– The absence of movement
– Being Settled
– Wholeness, or a state of well being
– A place to settle down, a home. (Ruth 3:1)
In other words, Naomi was hoping to provide Ruth with a relationship that would provide all of this for her.
(Note: This what the world is after as well! For Ruth this would be found in a marriage relationship. For people in general, this will only be found in a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! He promises all of this and more!)
B. The Necessity For This Rest – Ruth is in desperate need of such a relationship. You see, the harvest has ended, and with it, she has also seen the end of her supply from, and relationship with, Boaz.
As a widow, Ruth has no means of supporting herself and her mother in law Naomi. She is in poverty and she needs help. She needs someone to come alongside of her and to take an interest in her and her need. She literally needs a Savior (Redeemer)!
(Note: Humanity desperately needs a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! Why? Because of our sinful and wretched Condition – Rom. 3:23, Eph. 2:1-3. Because of our Condemnation – Rom. 6:23, John 3:18, 36. Unless we come to Christ, we are destined to live our lives in the poverty of spiritual darkness. Unless we meet Him by faith we are destined to go to Hell for all of eternity. We need the rest He offers us in Himself, Matt. 11:28.)
II. THE PROMISE OF REST
(Ill. Naomi tells Ruth that she wants to find Ruth a husband because he can provide her with the things which she cannot provide for herself. She says “that it might be well with thee.” This phrase literally means, “that you may have the best.” This is a promise that is full of meaning for this young widow.)
A. The Promise Of Hope – If Ruth were to find such a marriage relationship, she would find relief from her past, her poverty and her pain. She would find the cure for her work, her worries and her wanderings. Instead of being a dead-end, life would suddenly have meaning for her. There would be hope for the future. Life might not be and endless series of days trying to scratch out a living in that unforgiving society. She might just find love! She might just have children! She might just find joy!
(Note: Those who come into a love relationship with the Lord Jesus find far more than they counted on! They find that their lives are forever changed by His power. They find that they are loved, forgiven, part of something big and eternal. They find peace, joy and hope. They find not just the promise of rest, but they experience reality of rest first hand!)
B. The Promise Of Help – The “rest” promised Ruth a man who would meet her needs! A man who would love her and provide for her. A man who would take care of her and offer her the kind of security she could only dream about. It was the promise of help as she went down the path of life.
(Note: What a picture of all the saints find in Jesus Christ! He gives us hope day by day, but He also offers help along the way. No longer are we forced to go the way alone, now we have a companion, Heb. 13:5. The saints need never fear being cast out, John 6:37. The saints need never fear where the road of life will take them, for Jesus scouts the way and plans the path. Thank God for His help as we travel toward glory.)
C. The Promise Of A Home – A marriage rest would provide Ruth with a new home. She would have a place to settle down and enjoy the blessings of her new relationship.
(Note: The saints have a resting place as they travel through this world. That is true. However, I am glad that I can remind you that there is a home awaiting us at the end of the way, John 14:1-3. A home where the burdens, pains and trials of life will not be allowed to follow, Rev. 21:4.)
III. THE PLACE OF REST
(Ill. Naomi reveals the name of the person she has in mind to be Ruth’s husband. She has already picked out Boaz. After all, he is kin folks. He has the finances to take care of the need and he seems interested in Ruth. Ruth’s rest will not be found in a place, but in a person.)
A. He Had The Right Reputation – His reputation is stated in Ruth 2:1 and demonstrated through his actions. He displayed compassion, wisdom and grace in his dealings with Ruth. He cared about Ruth in spite of her past, in spite of what the community thought about her or in spite of what she could offer him. He loved her like she was and he acted in grace toward her.
(Note: Our heavenly Boaz, has the same reputation. Jesus Christ loves the sinner, Jer. 31:3; Rom. 5:8. He deals with us in grace, Eph. 2:8-9. And, in spite of our past, or even what we could offer Him, He still reaches out in love to save all those who call on Him by faith!)
B. He Had The Right Relationship – Boaz was a “kinsman.” That is, he had the right of redemption. Because he was so closely related, he could make a difference in Ruth’s life.
(Note: I would just remind you that our heavenly Boaz is also related to us, Phil. 2:5-11. Jesus became a man so that He might give His life a ransom for the elect. Thank God, He has the right relationship! No one else could have done what He did for sinners!)
C. He Had The Right Resources – Boaz was “mighty man of wealth.” He could afford to pay the price to redeem Ruth.
(Note: Our Boaz, the Lord Jesus, is also a mighty man of wealth! Even though He owns all things, His financial resources could not buy our redemption. Thankfully, the very thing we needed is what He has the most of! The lost sinner needs righteousness to face God, Matt. 5:20. However, the best we can produce in the righteousness category is vastly insufficient, Isa. 64:6. However, Jesus is abundantly and perfectly righteous! When He died for us, the righteous died for the unrighteous, 2 Cor. 5:21. Now, all those who trust Jesus by faith have their unrighteousness replaced with His righteousness, Rom. 4:20-25. In Who’s righteousness are you trusting this morning?)
D. He Had The Right Resolve – Boaz gave every indication that he was interested in a relationship with Ruth. He gave to her freely. He was kind and compassionate toward her. He gave her a standing invitation to enter and glean in his field. He wants her to know she can come to him for what she needs.
(Note: Everything Jesus Christ has done for humanity has been designed to show us that He cares. He has done everything in His power to show us that He desires a relationship with us. All that remains is for lost men and women to turn to Him by faith and receive what He offers them, Matt. 11:28. He offers hope, He offers salvation and He offers rest. His offer still stands today, John 7:37; Rev. 22:17.)
Are you at rest this morning? Now, I am not referring to physical rest. I am referring to spiritual rest! Is your spirit at rest? Is all well between you and the Lord? Have you entered into that relationship with Him that brings His best into your life?
What I am asking is this: Are you truly saved by the grace of God? If the answer is “No”, then you can be today if you will come to Jesus by faith. If the answer is “I don’t know” than you probably need to be saved. If He is in you, you will know it. I certainly don’t know your hearts, but you know your heart and God knows your heart. If there is a need, you come to Him and find rest.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!